The Austrian Constitutional Court's ruling on December 4, 2017, that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional is a powerful victory for equal marriage rights, Human Rights Watch said today.
Austria's Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that same-sex couples can be legally Wednesday, overturning the country's law which barred homosexuals from marrying. They said it disrespected the tradition of marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman that is intended for procreation.
Same-sex couples in Austria, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation of some 8.7 million people, have been allowed to enter civil partnerships since 2010.
The ruling concerned a case in which two women in a registered civil partnership petitioned to get married, but were denied by authorities in Vienna.
The Court examined and repealed the phrase "different sex", opening marriage up to partners of the same-sex.
The restrictions on same-sex marriage are now set to be lifted on the final day of 2018, unless the government decides to do it earlier, and the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2019. Austria marriage equality will soon be legal.
The court ruled that the 2009 law violated the constitution by discriminating against same-sex couples.
Many western European countries have introduced marriage equality.
Civil partnerships will still remain an option for same-sex couples, but will now be made available to heterosexual couples as well, in an attempt to provide equality across the board.
The two parties negotiating to form a new government after Austria's October election, the conservative Austrian People's Party and the right-wing Freedom Party, have so far opposed gay marriage.
Constitutional courts in South Africa, Colombia, and Taiwan have also ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in unconstitutional.
Austria's neighbours Germany voted to legalise same-sex marriage in June.